COVID-19 has altered consumer purchasing habits and methods.

The COVID-19 era has forced consumers in the Philippines and other SoutheastAsian countries to change their buying habits to suit their new priorities andlifestyles, which include shopping for pet food.

Pet food is among those Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) whose supply anddemand seesawed as governments in the region implemented varying degrees ofcommunity lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

By studying two consumer groups from ASEAN affected by the virus, inparticular insulated spenders and constrained spenders, Nielsen, a globalmeasurement and data analytics firm, saw how Southeast Asians let the size oftheir wallets decide what FMCG they will buy.

“Decisions will need to be made to reconcile purchase habits people have hadin place for years alongside today’s new reality, where health and valuepriorities compete side by side,” said Scott McKenzie, head of the NielsenIntelligence Unit.

Nielsen’s study results

Nielsen’s COVID-19 Behavioral Reset study revealed that around 83% ofconsumers in Asia Pacific were minimizing their expenses by the second half of2020. However, those who remain insulated from tightened finances as a resultof the pandemic are justifying their premium spending based on benefits andconvenience.

Nielsen said that across Southeast Asia, consumers continue to demonstrate afocus on in-home consumption and do-it-yourself activities. Around 24% ofconsumers surveyed in the Philippines switched pack sizes, suggesting thatthey are seeking FMCG that suit their homebound lifestyles. Applied to petrearing, this could mean that more people are also shopping for largerquantities of pet food or purchasing FMCG items to make their own pet’s food.

Pet owner behaviors during lockdowns

The market intelligence company FutureMarket Insights noted that when facedwith prolonged lockdowns, pet owners stockpiled on pet food and were more opento purchasing new brands, which could be pricier or cheaper, just to fill uptheir pet food pantries. Also, amid the lockdowns and social distancing rules,online shopping for pet food has become a regular activity that suits thosewho have settled into their new homebound lifestyles.

Yet despite the sudden increase in pet food sales at the onset of communitylockdowns, the size of the pet care market in 2020 is expected to be only halfof its 5% pre-pandemic growth forecast, said FutureMarket Insights. On thebright side, it added that the pet care market is expected to recover by thefirst quarter of 2021, due to the steady sales of pet foods.

Source: Alma Buelva Petfood Industry

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